Democracy Dies in Darkness Protesters’ occupation of London mansion linked to Russian oligarch comes as U.K. considers using property to help refugees

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These assets have been frozen, they haven’t been confiscated. They still belong to the same people. They have just been frozen so they can’t be sold,” said Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank based in London. Oligarchs can be served with an “unexplained wealth order,” a power introduced in 2018 that allows the British courts to compel a target to reveal the sources of their riches. If the state can make a case that a property was purchased with the proceeds of corruption, then they can seize the property. This takes time, money, lawyers. Sanctions don’t provide the due process needed to confiscate assets, Keatinge said. “We need to be very careful we don’t descend into the authoritarian thuggishness that inhabits countries where the rule of law doesn’t exist,” he said. “You can’t go around expropriating assets off of people where we claim they are connected with the Putin regime. That is not what you do in a democracy.”